Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett has recognized Sandals® Resorts as a prime example of indigenous companies in the tourism sector that are taking their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to new heights, ensuring that the positive impact of tourism is reaching all corners of communities across the Caribbean. Minister Bartlett made these remarks in New York City on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 as part of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) North America Leaders Forum panel: From Doing CSR to Being CSR.
Minister Bartlett noted that in an effort to modify the negative perception that the tourism sector is too focused on the narrowed economic interest, stakeholders such as Sandals Resorts have been a leader in CSR, having worked with communities that surround their resorts for four decades. “To solidify and deepen that impact, Sandals launched its Foundation some ten years ago to expand that impact and today the value of their CSR programs across the Caribbean stands over $58 million USD, impacting over 850,000 people’s lives,” said Minister Bartlett.
Minister Bartlett believes that the locally owned hotel chain has not just been doing CSR but being CSR. “Sandals shares the story of the Caribbean, our culture, heritage, struggles and resilience of our people with every traveler to this region, encouraging them to donate cash and in-kind, providing them with strategic volunteer opportunities while on vacation through its Pack-for-a Purpose and Reading Road Trips programs,” stated the Minister.
During his remarks, the Tourism Minister sought to highlight a number of sustainable projects with direct linkages to the industry on which Sandals Resorts is focused. Among them, the Artisan Project, a partnership with the Development Bank of Jamaica through the World Bank Fund to upgrade the market-readiness of local artisan suppliers, building their capacity not just for local markets, but for international markets as well.
Another critical area for Sandals Resorts is the environment. “Sandals and the Sandals Foundation have continued to prioritize the environment with all their hotels being Earth Check Certified engaging both guests and team members in best practices to ensure everyone works together to protect the Caribbean’s natural resources,” noted Minister Bartlett.
This year, the Sandals Foundation celebrates 10 years of fulfilling its promise to the Caribbean community of investment in sustainable projects, and will continue to double down over the next decade on protecting the Caribbean ecosystem.
In citing Sandals Resorts as a CSR case study, Minister Bartlett had high praises for the Foundation and its executive team which has projected that it will spend $1.5 million USD annually on education, environmental sustainability and community driven programs across all islands.